cover image The Sweet Taste of Muscadines

The Sweet Taste of Muscadines

Pamela Terry. Ballantine, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-15845-6

Terry debuts with a spellbinding account of long-buried secrets coming to light in the wake of a matriarch’s death. Lila Bruce Breedlove, the eldest of the three Bruce children, has long been avoiding her hometown of Wesleyan, Ga., since moving to Rhode Island for college, marrying a former professor, and settling down in Maine. She’s the only one of her siblings old enough to remember life before her father was killed in Vietnam, a tragedy that brought a veil of silence and distance over their family. But after her mother dies of a heart attack, Lila returns home. While Lila and her younger brother, Henry, left home after high school, Abigail, the youngest and their mother’s favorite, has remained in Wesleyan and continues the traditions of her childhood. As surprises pile up, the siblings begin unraveling their mother’s secrets, including the truth about what happened to their father. With stirring prose (“Truth, like beauty, reveals itself as you notice it; the more you see, the more you see”) and strong characters, Terry captures the complexities of memory and the difficulties of going home. Fans of Kristin Harmel will want to take a look. (Mar.)